Skip to main content

Full text of "The Missionary & Other Poems"

See other formats


Poets Corner 



Dread standing there 

with your crown of glory. 

Sign of your faith — your hair. 

Beautiful and black. 

Uncombed, matted, 

like' a lion's mane. 

Your roar is your beliefs 

spoken for those who wish 

to hear, and understand. 

The history of black men 

shining in your eyes. 

The regimented plan, 

there for all who wish to learn. 

Your locks a sign of 

righteousness, pride, joy 

in being black, beautiful and strong. 

Warrior Woman. 


Racial minority addressed by media silence 

Only broken by parade of stereotypes 

Across page or screen. 

Why do we hear voices echoing in shade 

Of background vision 

Until spotlight falls on silhouette 

Swaying to dem dry bones 

Or caught in riot tearing up paving stones? 

Old myths remade by selection 

New ones laid 

Creation not reflection of reality. 

Pat tsiorho. 



What squats its vast bulk 

at the end of my mind's 

shadowy recesses 

dominating my thinking like a 

legendary bastion. Bastille, 

labyrinthinely convoluted 

like a basilica upthrust on the 

Horn where ages intersect 

staring with basilisk-power to 

turn my brain to stone 

is knowledge of you, thousands, 


(The Fort, Rooi Hel, Pollsmoor, the Island) 

and the wound of knowledge 

knowledge of my powerlessness. 

Dennis Brutus 


The Missionary is a man 

To view with some suspicion, 

He spends his lite in foreign lands 
Denouncing superstition. 

He comes (he saysl, to free the Blacks, 
To love and educate them. 
But once inside their humble shacks, 
Does nothing but berate them. 

You must not worship deities: 
He castigates the chief, 
But practice White Man's pieties 
For spiritual relief. 

Young lambs must not be sacrificed, 
Shamen must be despised, 
To save you from sin, Jesus Christ 
Was scorned and ostracised. 

Out go old customs and taboos 
Like juju and rain dances, 
The churches fill their empty pews 
And lo: the trible advances. 

Repent, repent your wicked ways, 
Barrabas, Jezebel. 
If you don't: this fanatic says, 
You'll surely go to Hell. 

Such is the Mission man's tirade 
Against his hapless brother, 
But all he does is trade 
One superstition for another. 



Work is like running in a very long race 
Starting at a gentle pace 
Work too hard and you will find 
You'll never pass the finish line._ 

Concentrate right at the start 
It's a very simple art 
Time each piece of work you do 
Apply yourself, you'll see it through. 

Without training, watch and see 

You will tire quite easily 

Apart from not passing the long white tape 

Open-mouthed your tongue will gape. 

Another thing that you should do 
You rule work, don't let it rule you! 
Heed or there will ba bigger gap 
You might not finish the very first lap! 

Exploitation will also lurk 

When you find a place to work 

Just like training when you begin 

The experienced campaigner will always win. 

Nothing I'm afraid, you can do there 
You have to absorb and grin and bear 
But time will tell and when you learn 
The tide will eventually begin to turn. 

Starting right at the bottom of the scale 

You can't possibly begin to fail 

Train real hard and you will see 

You'll eventually climb that beautiful tree. 

Deverell Morris